Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This is NOT how you do it.

(UPDATE: I was just listening to the current "Five Hundy By Midnight" episode and realized this is their sponsor. I'm not taking back my critique, but I wanted to make sure nobody thought I was tearing into BestofVegas.Com based on professional jealousy. I think it's quite important that sites and products like this understand and honor the marketing value of advertising in untraditional media and for that BestofVegas deserves props. -sf)

Say you have bought yourself an awesome domain name and you want to provide new content. And say that this content is intended to be the newest, the hottest, the latest, the greatest stuff in the market. And then say you execute a rather expensive campaign that involves blanketing the e-mail boxes and then the actual mailboxes of journalists with elaborate invitations to a soiree celebrating your launch.

I must assume that that is what the great minds behind BestofVegas.Com had in mind. What they didn't expect was to become a laughingstock for it. But in a moment, they will be.

I got said e-mail notice and this was the image that was contained therein:

There was instantly something that didn't sit right with me with this image. I suspected it had to do with the blue and green lights to the left of the logo. I was always intrigued by the claim of "exclusive celebrity content." But I'll get back to that in a moment.

Last week, a black cylinder arrived at the house. It contained a small poster, perhaps 10-by-18-inch in size. And where the image above darkens at the SAVE THE DATE part, here is what the entire image on the invitation looked like:

Do you see it? It took guest host Amy Turner just a split second to see what's so very, very wrong with this image this week as we recorded "The Strip." Yes, believe it! That IS the Aladdin right there, front and center. If you click on the image and enlarge it, you might be able to see just below the words "Group Company" a billboard for...wait for it... Siegfried & Roy!

The best, the newest, the hottest, the coolest. That's what they were going for. And how much faith could we possibly have that this website, which is largely utterly redundant of the gazillion better Vegas travel sites out there, could be when they're using a photo showing the Strip from at least 2003? FIVE YEARS AGO. The Wynn hadn't even opened yet. WTF?

That's just unforgivable, but so is the false claims the invite makes. Since I keep close tabs on who the other celebrity journalists with great access are and what they do, I was curious about their promise of "exclusive celebrity content." Lots of sites claim "exclusives" that turn out to be little video bits from red carpets, along which it often seems that all you need to be invited is a homemade press pass and a pulse. It's a rather loose definition of "exclusive" since they declare anything at all that they have on camera that nobody else has as exclusive regardless of the journalistic relevance or the willingness of the celebrity to tell the exact same thing to anyone else who will listen.

But anyhow, I get to the website and I find out front these...

...and I think, "Whoa, I dunno who these folks are, but if they're getting Molly Sims and Chris Rock, they're a force I'll have to reckon with."

Then I clicked on the "interviews." Remember, we're expecting "exclusive celebrity content." And what do I find? The entire Molly Sims interview is made up of quotes -- appropriately attributed, I'll give them that -- she gave to OTHER JOURNALISTS. The piece recycles bits first reported (ages ago, by the by) by Robin Leach and Underground Online, whatever that is. The Chris Rock thing isn't an interview at all, it's a rewrite of his media bio. There are also "interviews" with Ben Affleck (sources:,, Bette Midler (Reuters, "public statement"), Cameron Diaz (W Magazine) and Andre Agassi (Larry King,

As I said, I give them credit for properly crediting the origin of their quotes. That's conscientious and I can't tell you how much more severe this post would be if they had just ripped other people off wholesale. But still, does this qualify to you as "exclusive celebrity content"? Would you listen to "The Strip" if all it was was quotes grabbed from various radio and TV shows?

BestofVegas.Com is fine as a travel site. The parent company, Entertainment Benefits Group, is apparently a travel wholesaler of some sort that claims -- as they all do -- to offer great deals based on some bulk purchase. I can't quite make heads or tails from their website of what they do, but apparently they do it in various Florida destinations as well. Boffo to them.

But it always does rankle me when these sorts of Web sites pop up and pretend to be doing journalism. It's hard enough to be taken seriously in this town. When folks like this come along and fake it, it cheapens the rest of us.


Heather said...

Was your poster personalized with the Starring *your name here*?
Mine was and so were the 12 extra that came to the office for people who haven't worked here in over a year-some more than that. What a good use of advertising dollars

Anonymous said...

yeah - came here to several people who don't work here, too. Seems like their mailing list is as old as that photo!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG -- us too!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow there are some new haters in town. What happens with knocks your piddly little site off the map?

Don't be scared kids, no one really reads your blog anyway :-)

Jeff P. said...

I read your article and re-read your article and I want to say you need to get over yourself! I was looking at pictures of the party over at Jeremy Womack's site, and I have to say that the party looked pretty awesome!

But really who sits at their computer and pics a part an invite!

Anonymous said...

I got the invite (as I am a sales manager for a hotel here in Vegas) and I went to the party!

Honey I am sad that you couldn't get over the picture of Aladdin, because you really missed an amazing time with great people! The party was off the hook, and Nicky Hilton was super nice, and fun to talk to!

Aaron Davis was a bit odd with his 'pimp' cane.

You should have gone! So sad you missed out on a great time!

Anonymous said...

Wow jealousy is running rampant on this site.

How big of a douche bag do you have to be to rip on a party invitation? (I picture you on a bean bag chair listening to Yanni’s greatest hits in your mother’s basement)
I will show you, scroll half way up the page and click the name Steve Friess to get a better view.

This guy is an embarrassment to the gay community and to Vegas. Not only does he think he’s a writer, he goes out of his way to list the so called publications he writes for. USA Today, The New York Times, the list goes on. He has not had a published article in over a year in any forum and his column entitled “The Strip Sense” sucks harder than Britney Spears at a Las Vegas BJ convention.

So Steve, for the love of god, SHUT UP THE HELL UP, AND GET A LIFE.

Dan K said...

Umm, Steve Friess is the most influential national journalist in Las Vegas.

"He has not had a published article in over a year"

Huh? See this:

Washington Post, NY Times, USA Today, LA Times, AFP - just this month alone. How weird.

Hey Steve, the folks at Wicked Creative are losing their minds. Nicely done!

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't Steve go out of his way to list the publications he writes for? These are his credentials. And he writes for these "so-called" publications multiple times a week. Isn't that sort of the definition of a professional writer?

Anonymous said...

this article/blog/site = biggest waste of time!

Anonymous said...

If you consider that even's just posted on his own site... is NOT the Washington Post, USA Today, NY Times,'s a personal website.

Anonymous said...

Steve Friss redefines retarded!

Dan K said...

He archives his work on his site. You people are ridiculous. Here's the latest Google News hits for Steve:

Now what, bitches?

Anonymous said...

sad sad... your site looks like it was designed in 1980s and your supposed to be current???